Windmill-sized DT bursts onto Wazzu radar

TALK ABOUT A sleeper. Among the official visitors the Cougs hosted this weekend, a defensive tackle who wasn't anywhere on anyone's radar a year ago -- schools don't generally designate Europe as a recruiting area. But the 6-4, 295-pounder played his senior season in the States and when his senior tape went out a short time ago, WSU offered and brought him in on an official.

Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, originally from The Netherlands, has offers from Washington State, Oregon and Boise State after playing just one year of football in the U.S.

He had just gotten home from his official trip out to the Palouse when he talked to CF.C.

"I had a lot of fun at Washington State, I saw a lot of good things I liked," said said Tjong-A-Tjoe. "I really liked the town. And I really liked the coaches -- that (bond) means a lot to me."

Tjong-A-Tjoe said he made a solid connection with defensive coaches Chris Ball and Malik Roberson. He also had a chance to sit down one-on-one with Paul Wulff.

"I like him -- he really seems nice and is not just trying to be nice," said Tjong-A-Tjoe.

Cougar defenseman Andy Mattingly served as Tjong-A-Tjoe's player host.

"There's definitely a family atmosphere there," said Tjong-A-Tjoe.

TJONG-A-TOE PLAYED football in the Netherlands but said it isn't quite the same game as in the U.S. Along with four of his countrymen, Tjong-A-Tjoe came to Boise high schools to play his senior season to see if he could land a D-I scholarship. Mission accomplished.

"We weren't on that level yet when we came here...but it's worked out pretty well," said Tjong-A-Tjoe.

Indeed it has. After a short adjustment period at the start of the season, Tjong-A-Toe took off.

He was named 5A All-Idaho first team defense following the season, logging 35 tackles -- nine for loss with two sacks -- and forced four fumbles and had two fumble recoveries. He also had countless hurries and blew up several running plays.

FEW SCHOOLS, naturally, about him at first but as his season wore on, he received offers from the likes of San Jose State, Portland State, Idaho, Idaho State and others. Then his senior season tape went out, and he received full ride offers from Washington State, UO and BSU.

"I want to say coach (Floris) Mendonca, he's the guy who helped bring me here, he's Dutch too and he did a lot for me, him and coach (Bob) Clark and my host family, the Moores," said Tjong-A-Toe. For more on the Dutch-BHS connection, head here.

TJONG-A-TJOE VISITED Oregon last weekend and said he'll head to BSU on Friday for his final official trip. He said he's not close to making a decision and doesn't have a leader, though he has narrowed his choices down to Wazzu, UO and BSU.

"I kinda liked both of the (WSU and UO visits). After I've been to Boise State on the official visit, I think I'll need some time alone, go up to a cabin or something like that and then decide what I should do," said Tjong-A-Tjoe.

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